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On Seoul streets, hawks outnumber doves on North Korea

"Despite President Moon Jae-in's suggestions for dialogue and peaceful approaches, the North is not taking the kindness and has only become a threat."

The researcher, who declined to reveal his name, also explained that there have been actual cases of attacks against South Korea.

"One of the prime cases would be North Korea's attack on Yeongpyeong Island. There, Koreans witnessed that, however we treat them, they can actually attack us," he said.

In November 2010, North Korea shelled the island located 80 kilometers west of Incheon, killing two South Korean marines and two civilians, and wounding 18.

Another reason behind the shift in attitude may be Kim Jong-un, the North's leader who inherited power from his father and is now reinforcing his authority in such provocative ways, he added.

"The way the communist state continues to show enmity toward the international society is childish. It does not know what is good for them, and we see that our kindness is not returned with kindness but ignorance and hostility," Yang Jin-young, a 26-year old student, told The Korea Herald.

Other members of the public say that the apparent irrationality of the North Korean leader seems to be the biggest threat.

"I heard Kim is very impulsive and I believe that he may really launch a nuclear bomb. We should never let that happen, and I wish all concerned nations would just ignore North Korea," said Kim Su-jin, a 30-year-old office worker.

There also seems to be concerns about the changes in the way Pyongyang deals with Seoul and its allies.

"What the North is demanding from the South and the international society has changed. In the past, it was just financial aid to its poor economy, but now it is calling for the ouster of the US armed forces in South Korea," said Yeo Young-soo, a 60-year-old business owner.

"What is more serious is that the North is now ignoring the South."

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